WA urged to grasp opportunity in Asia, by Brad Thompson, West Australian, 17 March 2016.

Notes: Interflour is an AusCham Member. AusCham is organising a tour of Interflour’s facilities in Vietnam (near Vung Tau) on 6 April 2016. Also, the event referred to in the article below was an Asia Insight breakfast in Perth held on 16 March 2016 and was co sponsored by Curtin University, an AusCham Member.

An edited extract of the original article is reproduced below.

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The head of a company linking Wheatbelt farmers to a flour and malt production network in South-East Asia has urged WA business leaders to step up investment in the region.

Interflour chief executive Greg Harvey said Australia’s investment and engagement with South-East Asia was “anaemic at best”.

Mr Harvey said the “vexed and thorny issues” of sovereign risk and corruption were real but could be managed through partnerships with family-owned enterprises in the region and appropriate due diligence.

“I would encourage companies looking to invest to focus on family-owned enterprises,” he said. “They really are the fabric of the business community throughout South East-Asia.

“In my experience the best renowned and most professional ones are using the big four accountancy firms for annual audits, often using international law firms as their legal advisers, they often have strong regional banks or global banks, and marquee corporate advisers.

“As a result, issues around risk and corruption often get managed out of the decision-making process”…

The breakfast was told South-East Asia attracted only a fraction of Australia’s foreign investment. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed Australian companies had $81 billion invested in New Zealand compared to $32 billion across Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines…

Interflour… owns and operates a network of flour mills in the region. Its assets include a major port terminal in Vietnam where it is preparing to open South-East Asia’s first malt plant in the next year.

Interflour will import barley from WA farms, mainly in the Esperance and Albany port zones, to supply the malt plant and the world’s fastest growing beer market. It has signed customer agreements with major brewers Heineken, Carlsberg and Sapporo…

 

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